People hate the unknown and get ants in their pants when they cannot account from something random. In 40k the random is anathema to mathhammers and power gamers alike. The random can throw a wrench into someones perfect plans. All good powergamers avoid…

units that have random effects. It is not only powergamers, but many players avoid units like Chaos Dreds, Wierd Boyz, and Possessed or wargear like Plasma just because they fear something going wrong.

It is time to live a little and give such things a chance. Just as you dread a bad roll so can your opponent fear you getting a good one. I have had Possessed get power weapons to take out termies or Ork Trukks to careen to a perfect location. Sometimes powergamers one track minds cannot handle such randomness usually ending with blaming everything on luck. When thinking about taking something with a random effect, focus on what else the unit or wargear does not its chance ability. A unit like Dark Eldar Wyches, are badass even without their random ability. What makes them fun is you can change completely how you use them with there random power. Take for instance the Weird Boy, your opponent drives his Landraider in your face hoping to drive home the point that Orks cannot hurt AV14. Then, your Weird Boy gets his str 10 melta shot and bam dead LR. At the very least your opponent might play defensive with the LR, playing into your hands.

It is true bad things happen: your Chaos Dred goes on a killing spree eating your own Rhinos, Kharn kills half his own squad, and your Vet squad plasma themselves to death. It should not deter you from trying these things again. Too often players have a few bad rolls and all of sudden they swear off a unit and does not have to be things with random abilities. It can be anything, many players simply just give up. Try making a list with units that have worked before, then throw in a random unit or wargear giving it the best chance to succeed.

This sort of thinking has had effect on codex design. Take for instance Njal with this special psychic power. People want a guarantee that their units will not end up having a mind of their own. Instead, a power that should be random goes from broken to (did I just get beaten by a large black dildo) broken. Random funky things have always been part of the game and make things more interesting. Playing well with them can only make you a better general as well.

The best stories come from totally lucky or unlucky events in the game; why should we lose that, otherwise what is the point when there is video games?

Questions for Comment:

  1. Do you play with units or wargear that have random effects?
  2. Have any good stories involving random units?
  3. Are random units good or bad for the game?